04.30.22

Modern Traditional Design: A Conversation with Designer Susan Bednar Long

Award winning interior designer Susan Bednar Long has long been celebrated for her unparalleled Modern Traditional designs. Fresh, tailored and sophisticated, her work, beloved by clients and lauded in the pages of design publications from Luxe Magazine to House Beautiful and beyond, is remarkably varied. From a French country estate in Provence (which landed the cover of Veranda) to a historic Tudor estate in Greenwich, she showcases her exquisite eye and talent for bringing together what makes a space uniquely beautiful.

Photo by Neil Landino Jr.

As a Fine Arts major in college, Long began her journey into the world of design with a focus on site specific installations and sculpture, a perfect blend of art and logic, one that would carry her through a series of experiences that brought her to where she is today. “After a short stint working in advertising in LA I decided to enroll in the UCLA Interior and Environmental design program. Shortly thereafter I got my dream job working at a Design Build company in Beverly Hills. It was the best job because it combined my love of creativity with practical problem solving.” Indeed, the designer is not one to shy away from complex problem solving, naming “… being challenged with each new project and its requirements” as one of her favorite elements of her work.

Photo by Michael Hunter

But before she was designing award winning homes for her discerning clients from her Dallas based studio, (she has been named on of DHome’s Best Designers for 8 years in a row), she was honing her eye as a young woman growing up in New Canaan. “I feel thankful to have grown up in New Canaan, CT. I drove to elementary school everyday passing by Philip Johnsons glass house and developed a love of classic architecture seeing so many lovely homes in and around my town and surrounding Fairfield County. In addition, I spent 10 years in Los Angeles which developed my love of Spanish style homes and in started my Design business in NYC working on sleek, modern interiors. In contrast, I have had a country home in Litchfield County, CT for the last 19 years and love the New England rustic mix especially with modern interiors. For the last 9 years I have lived in Highland Park, TX a lovely area of Dallas. Dallas has a varied mix of styles and much of it is formal. It’s been great to see how Texans decorate and live. It’s influenced my interiors in a good way – giving me yet another perspective on interior design.”

Photo by Don Freeman

This formative love of classic and yet unique design extends to her own home as well. “In Dallas, I’ve created a place that is a comfortable and eclectic mix for my family and reflective of our travels, life experiences and interests. My home is a blend of modern and classic elements and everything I love – which is a wide range so you can’t pin the interiors to a specific style. I like to call it Modern Traditional. One of my favorite vintage finds is a Tony Duquette silvered “pulled taffy” side table. It looks great in front of my Living Room fireplace. I found it at one of my recent visits to the Round Top Antique fair in Texas.”

Photo by Michael Hunter

When designing timeless, classic and unique homes, antiques often play a starring role. “I find more and more with the influx of fast furniture, that classic, one-of-a-kind piece make the space grounded and special.” No doubt, Long has an abundance of experience in vintage and antique shopping and offers this advice to those looking to add to their collections: “make sure you really understand the quality and condition before buying it and buys pieces you love.”

Photo by Dylan Chandler

Finding the perfect pieces to complete the spaces she works on is something the designer is particularly adept at. From art to accessories, she hones in on the pieces that will suit each client and their lifestyle. “My goal is always to create a space that is cohesive and finished, with layers of accessories and artwork and that truly represents the style and desires of the client that lives there.”

Photo by Neil Landino Jr.

We always find the results of Long’s work to be inspiring, so we look forward to seeing her upcoming projects come to life. Up next we can expect: “a project in Highland Park, TX will be featured in traditional home this summer and another home in I designed in Litchfield County CT will be included in Luxe Magazine [as well as] a Miami beach project I completed and recently professional photographed.”

Photo by Michael Hunter

In the meantime, one could do worse than to take a page out of the designer’s book and seek inspiration where she does: “I go to Instagram and back to all my saved World of Interior magazines.” Of course a peek at her online portfolio bursting with beautiful spaces to emulate is a great place to get inspired as well.

Photo by Michael Hunter

Click here to shop Susan’s TLV Favorites

 

5 Quick Questions with Susan Bednar Long

TLV: Do you have a go to color combination? Or most beloved pattern?
SBL: Blue and white seems to be something that I do a lot and that clients seem to ask me for. It can range from steely blue to cornflower to navy.

TLV: Is there an era or a design style that you are particularly inspired by?
SBL: Anything from the 1930/40’s french.

TLV: Favorite travel destination for design inspiration?
SBL: Venice, italy

TLV: What are you currently reading / watching?
SBL: I just finished reading Just Kids by the singer Patti Smith. And I am currently loving The Gilded Age

TLV: What are three words you would use to describe your work?
SBL: Classic, crisp, sophisticated

TLV: Do you have any dream projects or something that you would love to work on that you have not yet had the chance?

SBL: I’ve done a number of residential projects in Europe and a cruise line in Italy. I would love to get back to Italy and do a villa on the shores of Lake Como. Mixing antiques and custom pieces working with Italian craftspeople would be a dream and if it was for Robert Downey Junior…it would be even better!

Photos Courtesy of Susan Bednar Long / Text by Liana Hayles Newton

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TLV is about sharing, supporting and discovering all that's great about the community we live in. We strive to inspire, enlighten and sometimes entertain. Our team of tastemakers are mothers, wives, sisters and friends, and together we share our musings about love, life and home.
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